What does integrated tannis mean?

Hello everyone,

First post and am excited to join the community! I was drinking a 2017 Chateau de la Font du Loup Chateauneuf-du-Pape and was wondering the term integrated tannis. As it is a young CdP I felt as though the tannis did not blend into the wine, instead for me with this particular wine, the tannis were just presented abruptly at the finish. Wondering if I could get some perceptive on what integrated tannis means to you? Does the integration of tannis come with age or is the integration already found in young higher quality wine?

Tannins, I think you’ve got it. Can come with age but some wines have it.

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I take integrated tannins as tannins that have softened with time and lost the harsh/mouth drying aspect of their youth. They balance out and don’t overpower the rest of the wine’s structure. My 2¢

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J, welcome to the board. A description I’ve always found useful in relation to tannins is angular vs. round or smooth. As Brian said, tannins that have softened can lend the wine a smoothness, while tannins that haven’t yet integrated can taste, to me, more angular. In general, integration of tannins occurs over time, but I’ve also had young wines where the tannins were not as pronounced as I would have expected, as with some recent California cabernet.

Hello, first post for me here as well, I’ll use this thread because I have a very similar question:

How can discern where tannins in the wine are going to be integrated with time and when it might be just an overly tannic wine (compared to a standard or to my taste).

Few months ago I drank a Cascina Fontana Langhe Nebbiolo 2018, found it to be a bit overly tannic for my taste but the first thing I thought was that it needed some more time. Another guy at the table with me, with much more experience than me, said the wine was already in a stage where the tannins had softened enough and everything is well balanced, ready to drink.

Now I bought a 2019 Cascina Fontana Langhe Nebbiolo anyway (a better year overall) and will try it down the line to see for myself, but that episode made me question how to understand if tannins in a wine I drink have room for further integration or are at their “final stage”.

I know that if you wait long enough tannins are gonna soften anyway and eventually disappear, but other parts of the wine might be compromised along the way. Any guidelines?

I’d like to take a chance to thank all the members of this great forum, been lurking for a lot of time and the level of discussion is incredibly high.

J and Daniele - these are great questions, and hopefully we get plenty of answers for you! I’ll chime in with my useless feedback as well.

Specific to Daniele, I’m thinking your situation was one that might have been influenced by outside forces, i.e. food? Were both these wines sipped with a ‘clean’ palate? Or did you recently have some starchy foods immediately before sipping?

When originally reading your post I was theorizing that the '18 was too tannic because it entered a ‘clunky’ phase, as many wines when still young and fresh show well for a while then shut down hard, particularly Nebbiolo. However your more ‘experienced’ table mate stated his opinion which differed from yours. Remember that word - opinion - as that’s all it is. Tannins also show differently on different palates, of course - some people who drink tannic wine feel/experience/taste very little in the way of tannins versus those who are relatively new to the concept who would find very tannic wines (hello, Nebbiolo!!) to be a bit of an assault on the cheeks and gums. No ‘right answer’ and don’t think your opinion was wrong, it wasn’t.

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Hi Todd, thank you so much for your contribution!

the Cascina Fontana Langhe Nebbiolo 2018 was drunk in a “wine tasting” so wasn’t drinking it with any food in particular, there were some bread and cold cuts during the evening but nothing that would’ve moved my perception of the wine I think.

It wasn’t my first Nebbiolo based wine, also had some Barolos people would probably deem drunk too early:
-2013 Elio Altare Arborina early this year, which comes from Serralunga that could mean rougher tannins but you could argue that he’s the last stubborn modernist so rough tannins weren’t there in the first place? no harsh tannins at all (and not too much wood as well for my taste, which was a concern of mine)

-2014 Giacomo Fenocchio Bussia last year, autumn maybe, which is traditionalist producer and the wine comes from Monforte, that would mean more tannins but there was just a whiff, not displeasant at all, maybe the 2014 vintage had something to do with it?

Had probably a dozen of other Nebbiolo based wine, from different areas, drunk as young as a 2020 this year to a 2006 in 2021 and nothing came close to that Cascina Fontana 2018 I drank earlier this year (actually it was like December 2021 I think). It wasn’t a bad wine at all mind me, I could sense a lot of great stuff from it (I remember very distinctly an Haribo licorice wheel candy I used to eat when I was a kid) but the tannis were definitely stinging me, so I’m still unsure wether the wine needed to be drunk later (or earlier, as you suggested) or the wine was simply more masculine than my palate and I either have to evolve or go drink something else :sweat_smile:

Obviously you have plenty of experience - feels silly giving you ‘advice’ lol

Sounds like perhaps you experienced the all-too-common ‘mansplaining’ phenomenon :smiley:

2019 is an amazing year in Piedmont so that wine just showed well, I’m assuming, because it is in its initial beautiful phase before shutting down. Piedmont is known for this, in particular, but vintage specific as well. 2018 wasn’t a terribly ‘tannic’ vintage, overall, but still, if the wine is entering a closed phase it probably has the tannins barking more loudly than it did in its initial lush, new phase like the 2019. That’s my guess.

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Don’t feel, ofc I would never even dared to subscribe on this board if I was a total beginner but I’m far from the point of not needing advices, if this point exist at all.

The guy who gave me his opnion is my one and only “live” wine seller, I trust him as a person / professional but that doesn’t mean we’re gonna agree on everything.

About wines “shutting down” this was my biggest shock, One of the main motives I decided to subscribe it’s because I probably needed extra clarification, but that’s for another topic.

Well if it feels integrated into the wine it means that the person finds it in balance with other elements of the wine such as acidity and flavour profile.

What is basically going on with tannins is chemistry. They change:

" …while reds tend to feel smoother. This is due to phenolic compounds like tannins falling out as sediment over time.

In a young wine, these compounds repel each other, staying small enough to remain suspended in the wine. As the wine ages, they lose their charge and start to combine, forming chains and becoming larger and heavier. This reduces the surface area of the tannins, causing them taste smoother, rounder and gentler."

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